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Delta Calls Back More Pilots

Delta Air Lines (DALRQ) said Wednesday it will bring back 200 additional pilots in 2007, boosting the number of recalls announced this month to 1,900 and providing both the carrier and its pilots with another opportunity to say they don't need outside help in their reorganization effort.

Delta is seeking to fight off a hostile takeover bid by US Airways (LCC). Delta's creditors' committee is scheduled to meet Thursday with officials from both airlines to hear details of the competing reorganization plans, the first such session since the proposal was announced on Nov. 15, the Arizona Republic has reported.

Already this month, Delta has announced plans to recall 700 mechanics and other aircraft maintenance employees, as well as 1,000 flight attendants. For the year, recalls have totaled 900 maintenance employees and 1,200 flight attendants. The airline is also hiring airport and reservations agents.

As for pilots, the 200 recalls will bring Delta's active pilot total to 5,770 and will mean that offers have been extended to all but 154 pilots laid off since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. About 150 pilots have turned down recalls but remain eligible to return.

"We're aggressively pressing ahead with our standalone plan," said Steve Dickson, vice president of flight operations. "We're proceeding with the internal plans we have, including international expansion."

He said the demand for more pilots is fueled by increased aircraft utilization, longer international flights and the addition next year of 13 Boeing 757s. Delta last hired pilots in May 2001.
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